During my quick trip home to Georgia this weekend, I heard a couple of family discussions of where high school seniors were planning to go the college, and it struck me anew (1) how little real information students and parents often have about their options, and (2) how much misinformation is freely and abundantly available. That’s long been true, no doubt; my high school “guidance counselors” tried to get me to attend an expensive and mediocre college mainly known as a safety school for spoiled yankee kids. More recently, there’s been the fool’s gold of college ratings that basically tell you what they colleges want you to know, and reward big endowments and selectivity as ends in themselves.

We’re proud at WaMo to have broken the mold with rankings that present a fuller and more honest picture of colleges, not just for students and parents but for the taxpayers who foot so much of the aggregate bill. We think the 2015 rankings continue this honorable tradition, and offer most to those who are in need of a lamp unto their feet at a critical point in their lives.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.